Germany: Families with many children can be a protective factor in crises and thus a source of happiness and well-being

Study shows that families with many children are more resilient in crisis situations

By Verband Kinderreicher Familien Deutschland

Mönchengladbach, 06.02.2024. In crisis situations, it has been shown that families with many children are more resilient than smaller families. In particular, families with three or more children in the household have survived the coronavirus pandemic better – results that come as no surprise to the German Association of Large Families (KRFD).

“We are delighted to take note of this study. The feedback from our member families’ experiences between 2020 and 2022 had already given us a good feeling. But gut feelings and experiences are not always paid attention to by politicians in Berlin, however justified these feelings may be. We are therefore even more pleased that this observation has now been confirmed as fact by scientific findings,” says Dr. Elisabeth Müller, Chairwoman of the association.

A few days ago, the article “Child wealth as a resource during the COVID-19 pandemic and for mentally healthy growing up in families” was published (49th issue, magazine 1, pp 38-47). Especially during the pandemic, with homeschooling, working from home, closed daycare centers and playgrounds, lockdowns, and quarantine periods lasting weeks in some cases, one might have assumed that parents with many children were particularly overburdened. “This assumption is deceptive. We were able to show that the more children there were in the household, the less stressed the parents felt,” says Dr. Inés Brock-Harder, co-author of the study.

In Germany, more than a quarter of children under the age of 18 (27.4%) grow up in a large family. “Studies on these large families mainly focus on negative aspects. For example, large families are often confronted with the stigma of being a risk for children growing up. Even if the risk of poverty and confined living conditions do indeed put a strain on large families, this does not automatically mean a psychological risk,” says Brock-Harder. “We can prove that parents with many children are used to being able to remain active even in stressful situations, such as the pandemic, due to their challenging everyday lives.” The study thus confirms an important aspect when looking at large
families.

“We also see the results as a call to politicians to pay more attention to these valuable resources in large families. There are so many opportunities to pull the lever for more family-friendly conditions,” says Müller.

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